‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
MATTHEW 22:38 (NCV)
After we have tended to our own wounds it is then time to love our neighbor by tending to our neighbors’ wounds. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a wonderful example of neighborly love in action.
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied with a story:
“A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem
down to Jericho,
and he was attacked by bandits.
They stripped him of his clothes,
beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
“By chance a priest came along.
But when he saw the man lying there,
he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.
A Temple assistant walked over and
looked at him lying there,
but he also passed by on the other side.
“Then a despised Samaritan came along,
and when he saw the man,
he felt compassion for him.
Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds
with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.
Then he put the man on his own donkey
and took him to an inn,
where he took care of him.
The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,
telling him, ‘Take care of this man.
If his bill runs higher than this,
I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Henri Nouwen asks and answers the same question …
Who Is My Neighbour?
“Love your neighbour as yourself” the Gospel says.
But who is my neighbor?
We often respond to that question by saying:
“My neighbors are all the people I am living with on this earth, especially the sick, the hungry, the dying, and all who are in need.”
But this is not what Jesus says. When Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan to answer the question: “Who is my neighbor?”
he ends the by asking:
“Which, … do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits’ hands?”
The neighbor, Jesus makes clear, is not the poor man laying on the side of the street, stripped, beaten, and half dead, but the Samaritan who crossed the road, “bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them, … lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him.”
My neighbor is the one who crosses the road for me!
HENRI NOUWEN (THE DAILY MEDITATION)
Be a neighbor and love your neighbor by crossing the road and tending to their wounds!
On the journey with you,